Need some help on choosing brushes for a beginning casual painter
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Thread: Need some help on choosing brushes for a beginning casual painter

  1. #1

    Default Need some help on choosing brushes for a beginning casual painter

    Could really use some help on this as I'm still stumped! Let me start by saying I'm not really looking to get into the hobby as much as just add some color to the minis I would use for my characters in D&D. However I did just recently get a Hero Forge mini of my first character and would like it to look as nice as possible, so more than just $.50 brushes and craft paint from Michael's.
    The brushes that seem to be recommended the most are the Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes, then other Kolinsky Sable brushes after that (DaVinci, Raphael, Rosemary & Co), but they are all fairly pricey and are usually recommended to people actually wanting to get into the hobby. I'm just looking to paint the small handful minis I'm actually going to play with.
    With that in mind, what brushes should I be looking for? Any recommendations on brands, medium, or material? What works best for what stage? I've heard synthetic is good for base coating, but will it leave paint strokes? Or if some do and some don't, which ones don't?
    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I've been looking into this for a couple of weeks now and I'm still completely stumped!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ghool's Avatar
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    Windsor & Newton Cotman Series Watercolour brushes should suit your purposes just fine.
    They are a synthetic, but very soft, don't curly much at the tip, and hold an sharp point.
    And they're cheap - $5 a brush.

    Alternately, if you want to remain with a kolinsky sable, try out Rosemary & Co. They are reasonably priced and not bad quality.
    You'll get more mileage out of the Cotmans though.
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  3. #3


    Man I got ripped off! My Cotman cost me $23.00 from an art supplies store, although there in Aust. I do want to second that they are great brushes. Good results. Work on for ages.
    Last edited by bullfrog; 02-10-2018 at 12:15 AM.

  4. #4


    My locale Michael's craft store has these obviously-meant-for-pre-schoolers brush sets, and some of them actually make great minis brushes. You typically get five to a pack, and three of them are useful sizes for minis. Since the whole pack costs about 3$, it's still a great price. Using them teaches several lessons I'm finding useful. They've been pushing me to use larger brushes and focus on the tip, using the back of the brush as a resevoir - always a good technique to have. Since they're less than a buck each, and the quality is a mixed bag, you've got no compunctions against trimming the bristles with your beard scissors to get the shape right - another technique worth picking up early. And since they're so darn cheap, as soon as they're quality starts to decay, it's psychologically easy to bin them and grab a fresh brush whose tip is still good.

    The main gotcha I've noticed is that the brushes with good, semi-stiff bristle material are shelved right next to the flimsy bristle brushes that are good only for watercolor, if even for that. I've been having my best luck with the ones with bright colorful bristles; dyed taklon, if I had to guess. Seriously, these things look like kindergarten brushes, probably because they are.
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    (In the background, today's project: An Escher gang for Necromunda. I'll be trying out painting with washes.)

  5. #5


    You can always look at a brand called Fine Touch Taklon Round #8. They sell them at Hobby Lobby (if you are in the U.S.) or you can find some online. They go for about $5 for a pack of 12. They will be a mixed bag as some will have a really decent fine point and others not so much, but they are cheap and you can abuse them or cut them down for stippling or dry brush use. You could use them for base coating and most of the work, except for fine detail and they you could look at buying one or two nicer brushes (such as the W&N or Rosemary) to use for that since you won't wear them out as much since you are limiting their use.

  6. #6


    I find Winsor and Newton’s Sceptre Gold II round brushes to be a good economical, fairly sturdy brush for miniatures.

  7. #7
    Senior Member dennis.'s Avatar
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    Buy cheap, buy twice - as the old adage goes.

    If you take good care of a kolinsky sable brush it will take years to loose the tip, and even then will out perform sable and synthetics for larger coverage. With a little practice you should find you will only need a couple of sizes with the W&N series 7. A size 2 with little pressure can give you exquisite fine lines and with a little more pressure good coverage for washes.

    I have several, due to years of painting, and find the standard rather than the dedicated miniature series 7 best as it holds more paint however this is just a personal preference. In practice they give the same results.

    If you do go down this route I would highly recommend a priority soap, da vinci do a very reasonably priced soap bar. Wash your brushes religiously, always rinse sable of with cold water, and ensure no pigment or soap is left in or around the ferrule as this will split the hairs.

    Whatever your choice Good luck and enjoy painting.

    Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do. Edgar Degas.

  8. #8


    Honestly if you can find a red sable brush for$5-10 its all good. I picked up one and its got a better tip than my W&N. yes it is a little luck but hey more than 1/2 the price and its lasted months. Mine are from DAS. I do have W&N s7 they are great but if your not wanting to spend that much get red sable instead. Rosemary and co are also great.

    Happy painting

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